This category, backed by Schüco, acknowledges the work of those all-important clients - with the winning entry coming from the billion-pound developing giant that all the contractors seem to be dying to work with …


Land Securities

Contractors say that working with Land Securities puts them at the leading edge of development, and there can be no better recommendation than that. With more than £1bn of work commenced in 2005 on 11 different schemes, and a number of landmark projects in the pipeline, contractors are queuing up to work with the property giant. The company reckons that it has undergone a major change in its procurement policy towards a more integrated approach, and it has paid off. The industry is now waiting on news of two of the City of London's most exciting projects, both from the LandSec stable: Rafael Viñoly's audacious tower on Fenchurch Street, and Jean Nouvel's One New Change building. That queue in front of LandSec's Strand headquarters can only get longer …

Land Securities is hoping to turn Rafael Viñoly’s incredible bendy tower design for Fenchurch Street into a reality

Land Securities is hoping to turn Rafael Viñoly’s incredible bendy tower design for Fenchurch Street into a reality

Runners up

Allied London

Developer Allied London caught the eye this year with a series of high-profile projects completed in harmony with its contractors. Chief among those was Manchester's Civil Justice Centre, a £113m, 15-storey scheme, built by Bovis Lend Lease and designed by Denton Corker Marshall. At the heart of the Spinningfields regeneration zone in the city, the building's staggered glass boxes are set to become a city landmark. As if that wasn't enough, it also claims to be the biggest brownfield regeneration scheme in Europe.

Arsenal Football Club

Arsenal has called Highbury home ever since it kicked off the 1913-14 season with a 2-1 victory over Leicester Fosse. When it decided to move, the football club won plaudits both for its modern new Emirates Stadium and for the plans to convert the existing listed ground into a unique housing development. The club has impressed both the industry and our judges with its handling of its excellent 60,000-seat ground, designed by HOK Architects that sits at the heart of a major regeneration zone.

Defence Estates

Vice Admiral Peter Dunt, chief executive of Defence Estates, is working hard to shake up its procurement regime. Recent reports that the MoD's property wing will be moving to an even more collaborative approach to contractors will be good news for bidders, even if officials haven't yet defined the "X-factor" they say they are looking for. But DE's quality as a client has already been proven, as existing contractors such as Interserve, Amec Turner, Babcock Dyncorp and Bovis Lend Lease glowingly attested in a recent report by the National Audit Office.

Derwent Valley

Property company Derwent Valley Holdings specialises in redeveloping and refurbishing buildings around London. While recent projects such as Morley House on Regent Street and The Johnson Building in the heart of the City have proven its ability to revamp tired offices with style, Derwent Valley's creative streak has come to the fore with moves into more unusual projects. Its Gresse Street project, on a tight triangular site just off Tottenham Court Road, demonstrates a fresh imaginative flair with its curved facade and timber shading panels.

John Lewis Partnership

Owned by its staff and with 27 department stores and the Waitrose chain of supermarkets in its growing portfolio, John Lewis Partnership is well-placed to be the kind of forward-thinking and fast-moving client every contractor loves to work for. This year proved just that - in a tough retail market, both arms of the empire increased sales, and a move into Ireland was mooted. JLP is also placing itself at the heart of the regeneration agenda, with plans to revamp Maidstone East station in Kent.